The Brassie Golf
Club will use its off-season to explore ways to mitigate the threat of golf
balls leaving its property, County Attorney Scott McClure reported at last
week’s Board of Commissioners meeting.
The County is
coordinating with the Brassie following an uptick in complaints by residents
on Pearson Road in Liberty Township. The residents, whose houses are
parallel to the Brassie’s driving range and across Pearson, say there is a
documented history of golf ball damage to their properties dating back to
the Brassie’s opening 20 years ago.
neighbors, David and Kim Evans and Evelyn Komenas, said they’ve brought
their complaints to local officials again recently because new management at
Brassie has been unwilling to work with them. They asked the County to step
in at the Sept. 3 Commissioners meeting.
Brassie has expressed a willingness to make changes. “They will be shutting
down the driving range Nov. 1. They’ve committed to working with the County
on several matters to alleviate the issue of golf balls leaving the
property,” he said.
The Brassie is open
to additional screening, adding personnel to monitor the driving range,
changing the angle of the driving range, being clearer about who is
responsible for golf ball damage, and potentially revoking privileges for
people whose errant drives go over or around the 40-foot protective net,
according to McClure.
The closure of the
range is not a response to the complaints, as Brassie typically closes for
the season Nov. 1 and reopens each spring, but McClure said the off-season
gives them plenty of time to mull solutions. “Before the range reopens, all
of the possible fixes to reduce the incidence of golf balls leaving the
Brassie will occur,” McClure added.
David Evans said
his truck was damaged by a stray golf ball again since the September
meeting. He reported he called Brassie about the damage and was told they’d
contact their corporate office, but he never heard back. “These are the
people that are claiming they try to work with the neighbors. This is the
precedent that they keep setting, so I hope something will be done,” he
The Evans’ asked if
an ordinance can be passed to address the problem. McClure said the short
answer is no. Commissioners Jeff Good, R-Center, and Jim Biggs, R-North,
repeated that their hands are tied beyond talking to Brassie’s management.
“A lot of it depends on the course, and what they’re willing to do,” Biggs
said. Good said the County can’t force Brassie’s hand but is “trying to be
the mediator.” Good said similar problems exist near golf courses in
Valparaiso, but Brassie is permitted to do business and case law on
individual golfers being responsible for golf ball damage is settled.
Kim Evans asked
what the Board can do if an ordinance can’t address the problem. McClure
said he will give updates at a future meeting once something has been
settled. “I’m trying to work within the boundaries I have. They were
receptive to my phone call. They were receptive to coming out here for a
meeting,” McClure said.
D-South, said the Board wants a solution: “That’s why we have Attorney
McClure talking to them.”